Slow, Gritty Cop Drama
A, 2h 36m
What Is the Film About?
When Praja Dalam, a Naxal outfit, derails a train killing several people, including kids, the government appoints a special task force to eliminate them.
How Kumaresan (Soori), a recruit, becomes part of the unit catching the Naxals? What are the problems he faces due to his honesty and when he falls in love with a local village girl who has a connection with Naxals is the movie’s core plot for the first part.
Soori, a comedian and supporting actor, turns a full-fledged hero with Vidudhala. He is perfect for the role offering a mix of innocence and resilience.
The initial portions are free-flowing, where Soori has to be his natural self. We see him do the regular in these sequences. However, as the narrative progresses, a sense of heaviness grows in the character, which Soori neatly showcases.
There are no big dramatic moments as Soori’s part is mostly a standby looking at all that’s happening around him. But, even within that position, Vetrimaaran creates enough heart to make it memorable for the actor.
Bhavani Sri plays a village girl. She is fine with what’s given to her. Although a critical part of the narrative, Bhavani Sri often feels lost in the crowd. However, when it matters, she delivers, and that’s all it matters.
National Award winning director, Vetrimaaran, known for his hard-hitting content, directs Vidudhala. It is a two-part movie focusing on the Naxal versus the state/police period in Tamil Nadu’s history.
Although dubbed in Telugu, except for the dubbing, everything else remains in Tamil, including the character names. In a film like Vidudhala, it works as the nativity factor remains firm, and nothing looks odd (usually due to nativity changes).
The opening credits and sequence are not to be missed as they establish the foundation for the whole movie to stand on. It is a superbly executed single-take scene covering a huge accident.
The writing and clarity of thought with the proceedings are evident from the start. There is a lot of exposition, which is fine in parts but feels repetitive and a little bloated after a point.
The main protagonist’s character establishment takes a lot of time. Simultaneously the establishment of the space, the terrain, and the key relationship is also very drawn out. It makes the first half feel lengthy. A sense of weariness creeps in by the time one reaches intermission.
Still, the gripping narrative and direction make one hooked on the proceedings despite the issues.
The second half comparatively feels better pacing-wise. The focus sharpens as everything is set up in detail. Story-wise, there is also an air of predictability, and things go on the expected path. Again, the strong direction and emotions keep one engaged.
As mentioned at the start, Vetrimaaran is known for his hard-hitting content and rawness. Vidudhala is no different, and the narrative is punctuated with a few such brutal scenes that will make one squirm with discomfort. However, in the end, one does get a feeling that not all was necessary. It feels overdone.
Like the start, the climax shooting block is also technically well handled. The action works fine. The ending is more like a new beginning for the second, concluding part.
However, a critical thing to factor in the whole movie is its politics. The film won’t hold much attention if one is not interested in them. The director tries his best to present a neutral take highlighting issues from both sides, but it is apparent which side has the heavier tilt and emotion.
Overall, Vidudhala is a realistic police versus Naxal drama that is naturally handled with much rawness. It feels lengthy and tiring due to the slow pace and content. If you don’t mind the issues and like to watch hard-hitting sagas, try Vidudhala.
Performances by Others Actors
The casting for each role looks perfect. It’s why, despite so many actors, individuals register even with small or big parts.
Vijay Sethupathi has a limited presence in Vidudala, but he makes it count as he is impactful. He clearly looks like a ‘star’ among the many actors.
Chetan, Gautam Menon, and Rajiv Menon stand out from the supporting cast. Chetan appearing ordinary initially gets better as more of the character is revealed. Gautam Menon, who has turned into a full-time actor, is good. It’s a characterisation that suits his personality, and he does it easily and confidently. The same is the case with Rajiv Menon playing chief secretary.
There are many other actors with bits and pieces roles, and they have all done well. More than acting, their presence helps the setting look authentic.
Music and Other Departments?
Maestro Ilaiyaraja provides the music and background score for the flick. The songs aren’t particularly memorable, but he makes up for it with the background score. One feels that is a little outdatedness to it, but it does the job and enhances the emotional appeal.
R Velraj’s cinematography is good. The grittiness of the terrain is naturally captured. It makes a few bits look shaky and blurry, but overall, things are fine. The editing could have been tidier. A song in the second half acts like a speed breaker and should have been removed. But, more than chopping the final content, things should have been sharpened at the story stage. The writing is good.
Needless Brutality At Times
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Vidudhala Part 1 Telugu Movie Review by Mirchi9